Charged with first-degree murder, a Kansas man decided that something about his appearance might not bode well for him in trial—the word “murder” tattooed across his neck.
Defendant Jeffrey Chapman is asking for a professional tattoo artist to remove or cover up the word, which is tattooed in large, mirror-image letters. Chapman’s defense attorney, Kurt Kerns, says the tattoo is too big to be covered by clothing.
“Mr. Chapman has secured a licensed tattoo artist from Hays who is willing to go to the jail,” the motion states. “Mr. Chapman’s tattoos are not relevant to any material facts and Mr. Chapman asks for the court to exclude any mention of his tattoos at trial and further to be allowed to cover them up in an appropriate manner. The fact that he has ‘Murder’ tattooed across his neck is irrelevant to the State’s case and extremely prejudicial to Mr. Chapman if introduced at trial or observed by the jury.”
Prosecutors say they aren’t against it, responding to the motion that the State “does not oppose the defendant from covering his tattoo using clothing, bandage or other means compliant with jail policy."
However, the Barton County sheriff opposes allowing having Chapman get the tattoo removed. According to Kansas law, he says, Chapman would have to be taken to a licensed tattoo facility.
Chapman’s fears that the tat will prejudice a jury are probably justified. His trial for the killing of Damon Galliart is scheduled to begin Monday. Gailliart’s body was found by hunters in a ditch by the side of the road in November 2011.
Bunkerville, Nev. rancher Cliven Bundy has often claimed that his cattle should be able to graze on federal land for free because of his family's "ancestral rights" to the property.
Bundy has based his refusal to pay about $1 million in grazing fees to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on these "ancestral rights."
However, Bundy's claim of "ancestral rights" doesn't seem to ring true, according to a recent investigative report by Las Vegas news station KLAS (video below).
"I've lived my lifetime here," Bundy told KLAS. "My forefathers have been up and down the Virgin Valley here ever since 1877. All these rights that I claim, have been created through pre-emptive rights and beneficial use of the forage and the water and the access and range improvements."
According to property records, Bundy's parents bought the ranch, where he now lives, in 1948.
"My rights are before the BLM even existed, but my rights are created by beneficial use," Bundy stated. "Beneficial use means we created the forage and the water from the time the very first pioneers come here."
Bundy's maternal grandmother Christena Jensen was born in Nevada in 1901, and may have helped settle Bunkerville, but Bundy's family did not own the ranch property until 1948.
Before Bundy's 1877 claim, the Paiute Indians were forced off the land by the U.S. government in 1875, even though the tribe was promised the land back in 1873.
When claiming ownership of the land, Bundy never mentions the tribe.
Going back further, Nevada was bought by the U.S, government from Mexico in 1848 under the Treaty of the Guadalupe Hidalgo.
The Blaze reports that a U.S. District Court ruled against Bundy’s "ancestral" claim to the land in 2013:
Bundy has produced no valid law or specific facts raising a genuine issue of fact regarding federal ownership or management of public lands in Nevada.
Last night, Fox News' host Sean Hannity asked Bundy how he felt being called a "domestic terrorist" by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), noted CrooksandLiars.com (video below).
"Who seems like the domestic terrorist here? We the people with guns or did you see the United States government with guns?" asked Bundy, who didn't mention militia men who were in sniper positions and aiming guns at U.S. federal agents two weeks ago.
"Why Harry are you calling for a civil war? That's not what we the people want." stated Bundy.
However, in reality, Sen. Reid has never called for a "civil war."
Green Bay, Wis. police arrested an unidentified man early Saturday morning for allegedly holding an alcoholic drink outside a local bar.
“I’m standing in front of this other kid, who is saying things and he is walking toward a cop,” Joshua Wenzel told the Green Bay Press Gazette. “I don’t know the kid. I say, ‘You don’t want to go after a cop.’ Then the cop starts arresting him, and I say, ‘What are you arresting him for?’”
That's when Officer Derek Wicklund reportedly rushed Wenzel, pushed him into the street, slammed him into a car and wrestled him onto the roadway.
An unidentified witness, who filmed the incident (video below), was pushed away by another police officer while Officer Wicklund appears to punch Wenzel on the street.
Wenzel was later charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
The video of the incident was posted on Facebook and YouTube on Monday, which caused the Green Bay Police Department to investigate. No police officers have been placed on leave.
“All officers are allowed to go one level of force higher than the force the encounter,” Green Bay Police Captain Bill Galvin told Fox 11. “The reason for that is so they can remain in control of the situation.”
However, Wenzel's version of the incident seems to be closer to the video.
"I didn’t step towards him," Wenzel told Fox 11. "I didn’t touch him, nothing. His reasoning or logic, I don’t know, I can’t comment on that.”
Indiana man Anthony Hopkins, 27, is both in jail and in the news today after he reportedly spit blood into a police officer’s face and told the officer he had Hepatitis C.
The incident took place on April 12, as Hopkins was in the process of being arrested after he fought another person and fled from police. When police finally found Hopkins in a nearby basement crawl space, they had to call in a K9 officer to get him out.
After coming out of the crawl space, Hopkins reportedly said “F-ck you, I hope you die” to an officer. Then, as the officer was leading Hopkins out of the basement, the man resisted the officer and the two went tumbling down the stairs. It was then that Hopkins spit blood into the mouth and face of the officer.
Upon arriving at the squad car, Hopkins said “You know I have Hep C. I hope you get Hep C and give it to your wife and kids. Once I get out of here I am going to kill you and your family.”
Officers found Hopkins had a BAC level of 0.16 after testing him, which is twice the legal driving limit. He is being charged with bodily waste, intimidation, resisting law enforcement, and disorderly conduct. It has not yet been confirmed if he truly has Hepatitis C.
Since 2007, Hopkins has been convicted of burglary, battery, receiving stolen property, and driving while intoxicated.
A 16-year-old Southern California girl was killed while sleeping after an alleged drunken driver crashed his SUV into her home Sunday morning.
Roberto Rodriguez crashed his Nissan Pathfinder into a corner of the girl’s apartment around 3:50 a.m. and damaged two units. When police arrived to the scene, they found the SUV embedded in the apartment building and the girl dead inside.
The unidentified girl was a local high school student.
Half of the building was evacuated because of leaking fuel from the vehicle and structural concerns, though residents were allowed to return once the building was deemed structurally sound.
Witnesses reported that the SUV was traveling around 80 mph when it crashed into the building.
Rodriguez was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, then booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter. He is currently being held on $100,000 bail.
Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore (R) recently expressed her support for law-breaking rancher Cliven Bundy. She also said that the U.S. government should expect Americans to "fire back."
During an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Friday, Fiore was asked if she recognized the authority of the federal government (video below).
"I recognize our federal government overstepped and overreached in our state of Nevada," said Fiore. "That's what I recognize. I recognize we have a lot of issues to conclude. We also have the spotlight on Nevada right now... I'm recognizing this was handled totally incompetent [sic] and I'm questioning the BLM."
Fiore added, "Don't come here with guns and expect the American people not to fire back," noted TalkingPointsMemo.com.
Hayes asked Fiore how she would feel if armed militias opposed the federal government over the deportation of an undocumented immigrant.
"Are we talking about cows or illegal immigration, Chris? Because I'm talking about cows," Fiore snapped.
"I'm talking about human beings," Hayes stated.
"Human beings, that thank God, did not get slaughtered, but cows did get slaughtered out here," said Fiore.
"What is going to happen to those cows later on?" Hayes fired back.
Also on Friday, lawmakers from Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington met for a “Legislative Summit on the Transfer of Public Lands," reports CSMonitor.com.
"Those of us who live in the rural areas know how to take care of lands," Montana State Sen. Jennifer Fielder said on Friday. "We have to start managing these lands. It's the right thing to do for our people, for our environment, for our economy and for our freedoms."
"There is a distinct difference in the way federal agencies are managing the federal lands today," added Fielder. "They used to do a good job, but they are hamstrung now with conflicting policies, politicized science, and an extreme financial crisis at the national level. It makes it impossible for these federal agencies to manage the lands responsibly anymore."
Fielder did not give any examples of "politicized science."
A Tacoma, Washington man who survived a brutal beating from muggers twelve years ago has gone on to become a mathematical genius thanks to his attack.
Jason Padgett, 41, was mugged outside of a Tacoma karaoke club one night over a decade ago. The attackers repeatedly kicked Padgett in the head, and in what doctors could only describe as a miracle, Padgett survived.
Now, Padgett’s life is completely different, especially when it comes to his everyday experience. According to reports, since the attack, Padgett now sees everything in complex, mathematical equations.
“I see bits and pieces of the Pythagorean theorem everywhere. Every single little curve, every single spiral, every tree is part of that equation,” said Padgett to ABC News. “I’m obsessed with numbers, geometry specifically. I literally dream about it. There’s not a moment that I can’t see it, and it just doesn’t turn off.”
Padgett can also reportedly produce a visual representation of Pi, the infinite number that starts out as 3.14. He is said to be the only one in recorded history that actually can do that successfully.
Experts say that while this case is extremely rare, it appears that the attack awakened something in Padgett’s brain and caused him to be what they call an “acquired savant.”
"Savant syndrome is the development of a particular skill, that can be mathematical, spatial, or autistic (sic), that develop to an extreme degree that sort of makes a person super human,” explained neuroscientist Peter Brogaard.
Padgett, who actually dropped out of college years ago and is currently working at a furniture store, says that his gift can sometimes be overwhelming.
"Sometimes I would really like to turn it off, and it won’t," said Padgett. "But the good far outweigh the bad. I would not give it up for anything."
Padgett hopes to one day quit his job at the furniture store and get into teaching.
Two people were charged after police making a drug bust in Paterson, New Jersey, found bloodstained walls and starving Pit Bulls. Their target was drugs, but what police found was an unexpected horror of animal cruelty that included dead fighting dogs stuffed into garbage bags, starving puppies crammed into crates, and blood-splashed walls, reports North Jersey News.
One of the 21 Pit Bulls found in the basement of the Paterson house is shown cowering in a poignant photo taken by North Jersey News photographer Viorel Florescu. The photo captures the pathos of lifelong confinement in a cold concrete pen and the dog’s terror of humans who have hurt it and left it to suffer. It also shows the tentative hope that it will not be harmed again.
Paterson police arrested Caurie Swinger, 21, and Ashley Bryant, 32, on animal cruelty and drug possession charges, police Capt. Troy Oswald said. on Friday afternoon.
In addition to the dogs, police found a handgun and an estimated $12,000 worth of crack cocaine and marijuana during the raid that began at 1 p.m.
Captain Oswald said they found evidence that a large dog-fighting ring was being run out of a city home at 226 Van Blarcom St., where Pit Bulls were being trained to fight. Most of the dogs were less than a year old.
Oswald said detectives found one dog in a first-floor room. Four others were chained outside, and 16 were crammed into crates stacked in the basement. Police found a large cache of drugs, for which the search had first been conducted.
The scarred bodies of four dead dogs also were found in the basement, stuffed into four plastic bags “like yesterday’s garbage,” said John DeCando, Paterson Animal Control officer, “It was horrible. This is one of the largest dog-fighting rings I’ve seen.”
There were also four trash cans on their sides in the back yard that appeared to have been used to house dogs. Three of them were partially covered with wooden boards and the other had a hole cut into its cover.
Neighbors said the man who lived at the house owned two or three dogs that they would see outside, but that they didn’t know anything about a dog-fighting ring or any other dogs at the home.
One man, who asked not to be identified, said that the three dogs he saw appeared to be malnourished and were housed in trash cans in the back yard. “You could hear them crying at night,” he said.
Police said many of the Pit Bulls showed signs of starvation.
DeCando told North Jersey News reporters that steroids used for fighting dogs also were found in the home, along with needles, electronic collars to shock the dogs, and bloodstained sticks used to pry open their jaws.
He said that the three surviving adult dogs had severe injuries from fighting and were taken to a veterinarian for treatment. The snout of one dog appeared deformed from having been bitten.
Most of the dogs were thin and scared, but quickly warmed up to detectives who offered them food, Oswald said.
DeCando said that dog fights apparently took place in a bedroom upstairs on the first floor, where the blood-splattered walls were found.
The dogs appear to have been trained at the home but may have also been fighting elsewhere, police believe.
Several neighbors told North Jersey News that large groups of people sometimes came and went from the blue wood-framed house, located on a narrow street that is one block long. One neighbor stated that was not unusual for the neighborhood.
Another neighbor, who said as many as a dozen people at a time crammed into the house, added that it seemed odd because the street is not readily accessible and is almost hidden from surrounding neighborhoods.
A woman who showed up at the home Friday evening said her daughter is its owner. She said, “I don’t know anything about that” when she was asked about dog fighting. She said neither she nor her daughter live at the home and that she wanted to check on the property and the dogs that live there. She didn’t respond when she was told all the dogs had been taken away and declined to be interviewed further.
The home is owned by a woman named Constance Swinger, according to tax records. Neighbors said the owner was rarely at the house, but that a man they believe to be her son lives there.
DeCando said that the pups are receiving care and attention at the Paterson animal shelter and the adult dogs were expected to recover. “Each dog is adoptable; not one will be put to sleep,” DeCando said. “They’re friendly. They just got hooked up with bad people.”
11Dog Fighting: Irkis Forrest, Arrested in Multi-State Alabama Dog-Fighting Bust, Plans to Plead Guilty
Irkis Forrest of Theodore, AL--one of 14 people arrested on April 7, 2012, in connection with the multi-state dog fighting investigation--has filed notice that he plans to plead guilty to one count of dog fighting.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Coody has scheduled a hearing May 2 in Montgomery for Forrest to enter the plea.
A federal indictment accused Forrest, 32, of being part of a dog-fighting conspiracy involving people from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas that staged or participated in the matches in Alabama.
Carlton Tippens of Riverdale, GA, another defendant, is seeking to enter into a pre-trial diversion program. If accepted, Tippens could perform community service, pay restitution, and submit to regular supervision. His prosecution would be dropped.
Most of the remaining defendants are scheduled for trial May 8 in Alabama.
Investigators seized 367 dogs in the raids last August in Alabama and Georgia. They later seized 37 more dogs later in Dothan. The Humane Society of the U.S. and the ASPCA provided care for the dogs.
Read more: The Dispatch
Prisoners at the St. Clair correctional facility in Alabama are planning to stop their work at the jail this weekend because of alleged slavery.
“We decided that the only weapon or strategy… that we have is our labor because that’s the only reason that we’re here,” St. Clair inmate Melvin Ray told Salon.com via phone.
Ray, who started the Free Alabama Movement, accused the state's prison system of "incarcerating people for the free labor.”
“There is not even the pretense of doing anything about corrections," said Ray. “They’re running a slave empire.”
The Free Alabama Movement has posted recorded cell phone interviews of inmates online, in which the men detail the unsanitary conditions of Alabama jails (video below).
Ray claimed that prison officials have threatened the prisoners with solitary confinement if they go on strike.
“It’s a hellhole,” Ray told Salon.com. “That’s what they created these things for, to destroy men.”
“We have to get [inmates] to understand: You’re not giving up anything. You don’t have anything. And you’re going to gain your freedom right here,” added Ray.
Prisoners at Holman, Elmore and St. Clair state jails went on a work strike back in January.
Alabama State Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Corbett told the Associated Press that only a small number of inmates refused to do work during the January strike.
However, Ray claims that almost all of the prisoners at St. Clair and Holman prisons went on strike.
“There may be some prisons we spent a lot of time organizing that don’t even go on strike [this time],” Ray told Salon.com. "The best-case scenario would be that every prison in the state of Alabama joins the Alabama movement, go on, shut down.”
The U.S. Justice Department is investigating conditions in Alabama’s prisons.
Even though Alabama prison officials claim their jails are not violating anyone's rights, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) recently said he was bringing in outside groups to “transform the landscape of our criminal justice system for the better," reported AL.com.